If you suspect you're experiencing symptoms of IBS, such as stomach or bowel cramps, loose stools or flatulence, you should see your doctor. IBS is fairly common, and GPs advise and treat sufferers frequently.
So there's no reason to feel embarrassed – your GP will happily discuss it with you.
The ABC of IBS
The UK National Institute of Clinical Excellence advises GPs to consider IBS if their patient experiences any of these ’ABC’ symptoms for six months or more:
There are other symptoms which may be associated with IBS, which include bowel cramps, diarrhoea, excessive wind, feeling that you haven’t fully emptied your bowels, passing mucus from your bottom and occasionally experiencing an urgent need to go to the toilet.
Abdominal pain or discomfort
Change in bowel habits – diarrhoea, constipation or both
If you experience these symptoms, you should visit your doctor to get a check for IBS - and to rule out anything more serious.
Characterised by passing looser, more watery stools than is normal for you.
Do you feel full of air, uncomfortable and self-conscious? Bloating can be a symptom of IBS.
Passing wind is natural – we all do it. However, if it’s excessive or difficult to control, it can affect your confidence around other people, and might be a sign of IBS.
Stomach cramps or bowel cramps are normally short lived and caused by a minor upset, however if they last for more than a few days, with other symptoms,they may be a symptom of a long-term condition, such as IBS.
From a survey carried out for Johnson & Johnson, over half of IBS sufferers experience constipation.